Regulators' recent moves to encourage lenders to relax standards have reignited a contentious debate over whether looser credit will revitalize the housing market or set it up for another disaster.

Some experts say the changes by the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Federal Housing Administration will help the housing recovery that lost traction a year ago, when interest rates jumped and mortgage applications collapsed. Others say lending to weak borrowers will drive up home prices in the short term but lead to more foreclosures down the road.

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